REGINA -- A Saskatchewan teenager says he was surprised that his volleyball skills caught the attention of Team Canada coaches.

“The youth national teams a new thing so I actually didn’t know about it,” 16 year-old Lucas Musschoot said. “I got the email out of nowhere, I wasn’t even expecting it, so it was pretty cool.”

The youth national team program coaches planned to scout players at Club Volleyball nationals. However, the tournament was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Instead, provincial team coaches submitted highlight reels of standout athletes. Joel Dyck, Saskatchewan’s volleyball high performance director, put forward a demo-tape of Musschoot. The 6’8” middle blocker was told he made the team because of his tall frame, but also his ball control.

“I’m tall but I’m not exactly like some tall people that are clumsy,” said Musschoot. “[The coach] said that I’m actually agile for my height and how lengthy I am.”

The youth national team was suppose to compete at a NORCECA (North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation) Championship, but all international competitions were cancelled.

Instead, the team is doing virtual training, with a focus on volleyball systems, mental training, nutrition and sleep benefits. In the next session, the players will have an opportunity to ask the Canadian Olympic Team some questions over video conference call. Musschoot already has his lined up.

“What was the first kind of thing that they got to when they were like man, I’m on the right track to get to the highest level I can?”

It’s been a journey for Musschoot to get to this level. He lives in the town of Grenfell, population 1,099. Last year, he transferred to Luther College High School in Regina, so he could play club volleyball with the Regina Volleyball Club.

Musschoot was also identified to be a part of Saskatchewan’s Canada Games team, that will compete in Niagara in 2021. The provincial team also has in-person training scheduled in Saskatoon starting Aug. 17. Musschoot says this taste of Team Canada has given him even more drive to achieve success in volleyball.

“That’s my motivator in my head. Like I’m serving and I’ll do an extra couple serves, and this is what I’m working for,” he said.

One thing the national team coaches told him over the call has motivated him.

“This is the first step to being a senior national team and Olympic level player.”

Musschoot plans on rallying to get there.